There is more to the body than just muscles and bones and you may have heard the term facia before, or myofascia, and wondered what it meant!
So what is fascia? This explanation by Thomas Myers will help explain;
Fascia or myofascia, is the dense, tough tissue which surrounds and covers all of your muscles and bones.”
This outer fascial covering is very strong and very flexible. In fact, it has a tensile strength of over 2000 pounds. Under a microscope, fascia resembles a spider web or fish net. Fascia forms a whole-body, continuous three-dimensional matrix of structural support around our organs, muscles, joints, bones and nerve fibers. This multidirectional, multidimensional fascial arrangement also allows us to move in multiple directions.
So basically, if you can imagine a big spider web consisting of your whole entire body that helps to connect and inter-weave things together, then you can picture fascia and its importance within our bodies. Fascia is as important to movement as muscles, as it is the fascia that helps to determine the health of the muscles and therefore the quality of our movement patterns and strength.
Fascia can become dehydrated and cause adhesions with the muscle it surrounds which can compromise functionality. Hydration, nutrition and good healthy movement everyday helps keep our fascia pliable and in turn assists with muscle health and quality performance – whether you are a professional sports person or weekend warrior.
Davis’s law states that fascia can remodel itself (becoming stiffer and denser) along lines of stress. This can have short-term benefits and long-term consequences. When we practice a movement repetitively, soft tissue will remodel itself in the direction of the desired movement so that the tissue becomes stronger at dealing with the forces in that particular direction. Long-term repetition can make the fascia stiffer along the line of stress (helping that activity), but weaker in other directions.
While most people know something about muscles and bones, the origin and configuration of the fascinating fascial net that unites the muscles and bones is less widely understood. Even though research is advancing, changing and broadening our knowledge, the majority of the public and even most therapists and athletes still think of muscles working in isolation but in reality, the fascia connects them all together.
Some massage therapists and physio’s can use specialty techniques for helping release the fascia from the underlying muscles to stimulate blood flow and initiate muscle release. These techniques are beneficial for a variety of different conditions including migraines/headaches, general muscle soreness or DOM’s, TMJ dysfunction, fibromyalgia and many other musculoskeletal conditions.